Political commentator Barry Soper reveals bombshell prediction for Government's divisive speed limit reduction proposal

A political commentator has dropped a bombshell prediction for the Government's divisive proposal to reduce speed limits around the country.

Newstalk ZB's senior political correspondent Barry Soper revealed on AM he knows on "good authority" the Government will ditch the move to drop speed limits despite Transport Minister Michael Wood defending the proposal.

As part of the Government's Road to Zero campaign Waka Kotahi NZTA proposed speed limit changes to more than 500km of state highways in 440 locations across Aotearoa New Zealand.

While the move has been met with criticism, Wood was defensive of the proposal.

"It's important we do that. If we want to have a safer transport network, if we want to stop killing an average of one person every single day on our transport network we need to look at everything so safer vehicles, safer drivers, safer roading infrastructure and safer speeds, that's just what the evidence tells us," Wood told Melissa Chan-Green on AM on Friday.

While changing speed limits is not up to the Government to set, it's something Waka Kotahi has an independent regulatory function for, Wood said the Government has set a clear direction they want the agency to focus on.

But Soper revealed on AM's panel he knows on "good authority" the move to lower speed limits will be abandoned.

"Can I tell you on good authority, and it's pretty good authority, that the speed limits are not going to be reduced," Soper said. "Heard it here first," he added.

Earlier on Friday, Wood did confirm there is no plan for a blanket speed drop from Waka Kotahi NZTA across all roads and said they are looking at the targeted areas where they can make a difference.

Wood didn't have the figures spent on investigating speed limit reductions on hand but said there has been some expenditure on it. Newshub has contacted Wood's office for the figures.

According to ACT Party transport spokesperson Simon Court, figures from a Written Parliamentary Question show the government has spent $38 million investigating the speed limit reductions.

Michael Wood defended the proposal on AM.
Michael Wood defended the proposal on AM. Photo credit: AM

The proposal has proved unpopular with many people.

Whānau Ora commissioning chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tai told AM it seems as though a lot of the proposals and projects the Government has been trying to push through over the past couple of years aren't favourable to the public, including the reduced speed limits.

"Why on earth would you continue? At the end of the day, who's going to be the end user, the consumer, and if they are not going to be using it then why would you push ahead?" Raukawa-Tai said.

"They're not testing the waters… If the people don't want it then for goodness sake don't go there."